Image and Lifestyle

Fashion, Style, and Professional Impression in Hong Kong

She’s Got Legs

Even though it’s winter and your legs can hide behind opaque tights for a bit longer, it’s time to start thinking about your Spring wardrobe and fitness routine for the best pins around town.

  • Without a doubt, resistance workouts with weights will help tone and sculpt your legs.  The best exercises for great gams include squats, lunges, and dead-lifts.  However, without cardio to burn the fat on the surface, your tone will never show.  Running, jumping-rope, swimming, elliptical training, etc are all great fat-burners… just keep moving and get a good sweat going.
  • Aside from exercise, the right shoes will help create the illusion of longer and leaner legs with nude-toned high-heels (see pic above).  I recently added the two below Jimmy Choo darlings to my arsenal of shoes for Spring.  These will be perfect with shorts, dresses, and skirts for creating a clean line of color from hip to toe.

  • Know your hem-line.  Avoid letting your hem end at the widest part of your leg.  This means if you have heavier legs, don’t rock very short skirts and dresses… opt for knee-length or slightly above-the-knee and wear high-heels in a neutral shade such as nude, light silver, or light gold tone.  Below-the-knee hems are hard to pull-off without looking overly matronly.
  • Lotions and potions will help as well.  Before going out, put a lotion with a subtle shimmer on your legs to help reflect the light and add tone.
  • Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate.  Smooth thighs, knees, and bum are definitely always in style.  Aim toexfoliate in the shower 2x/week and follow with a body oil or lotion immediately after to moisturize and keep your skin youthful.
  • Pedicures.  I have a different opinion on pedicures from most women (I think).  I care much more about the softness and health of the skin on my feet than the color of the nails, although you cannot go wrong with a feminine pink.  Your feet need to be healthy and looked after.  I find that getting a quickie pedicure is pretty much all about the nail polish rather than the foot care, so go to a nicer salon or buy sanders and scrubbers to keep your tootsies looking great for those peep-toe shoes.
  • Shaving, waxing, etc all go without saying…. smooth and silky is the way to go.
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Filed under: Dressing Style Tips, Exercise, Fitness - Motivation, Grooming, Image advice, Legs, Losing Weight, Skin care, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A minute on the lips…

When I was a teenager, someone told me “remember, a minute on the lips, a lifetime on the hips”.  I think of that now after the holidays when everyone (including myself) is trying to lose 5-10 pounds.  Ugh!  It’s not easy.

Losing just a few pounds requires effort.  You have to REALLY want it.  Fortunately, I’ve already shed 1 KG in 9 days from working out and eating right… feeling slightly hungry before bed, daily sweat sessions and cardio with the jump rope, reducing my intake of refined carbs and processed foods, and increasing my water consumption.  1KG is just 2.2 lbs, but it all adds up.

If you want to lose weight, you definitely can… but you need to be realistic and want it more than you want other lifestyle choices such as sugars, excess food, alcohol, laziness, and comfort.  YOU have control over what your body looks like, and you can choose to build your own body however you want and make a decision to live and eat well.  Maybe you’ve just skimmed over those last few sentences like “blah, blah, blah”… but it’s true that you really have complete control over the way you look.

Some of my tips for trimming up a bit:

  • Drink two large glasses of water after waking up and before meals.
  • Drink 1 large glass of water after each meal.
  • Make sure breakfast is 50% fruits; lunch & dinner are 50% vegetables.
  • Avoid eating and drinking foods that weren’t in existence in the 1800’s (this is a good one).
  • To curb cravings between meals, drink hot tea.
  • Limit fried foods and processed foods as much as possible.
  • Add psyllium husk to foods to increase bulk and aid digestion


Filed under: Belly, Belly and Core, Exercise, Fitness - Motivation, Health, Healthy Eating, Losing Weight, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jump!

Christian Bale from the movie "American Psycho"

Pop Quiz Hot-Shot: What you do when a ridiculously fit, focused, GQ, Christian Bale/American Psycho look-alike at the gym suggests you start jumping rope to burn more fat?  Here’s what you do – pick up a rope, and start skipping baby.  And so it begins….

I picked up a weighted jump-rope in the gym yesterday, turned on my i-pod shuffle, and hopped around for twenty minutes, I felt absolutely FANTASTIC!  Definitely better than walking at a level 7 on the treadmill watching Nigella Lawson’s baking show on TLC.  I was seriously sweating and it felt great… then I followed it up with one hour of weights.  It reminded me about the awesomeness which is jumping rope.

  • Reminds you of being a kid
  • You can move at various speeds
  • Burns insane fat and calories – the best cardio workout ever!!!!
  • You won’t get bored as easily as you might on stationary cardio equipment
  • Easy to travel with a jump rope
  • You look like a cool ninja-type person
  • You get seriously toned legs and a great tush

It isn’t exactly a revelation – I’ve done lots of skipping in the past one year – but not since Thanksgiving.  Plus, my brother actually gave me an amazing jump-rope for Christmas… so I’m starting to see the writing on the wall.  GQ-hottie couldn’t have reminded me about the benefits at a better time either… it’s just about time to start planning a beach & bikini getaway!

 

Filed under: Belly and Core, Exercise, Fitness - Motivation, Health, Legs, Losing Weight, Manage stress, , , , , , , , , , ,

Look and feel your best in 2011

Resolve to look and feel your best in 2011 with positive changes in your lifestyle, habits, and appearance.  See the below for my take on building a healthier and more attractive body.


1.  Create S.M.A.R.T goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound).  It’s easy to say “I want to lose weight in 2011″ but you need to consider the details.  For example, “I want to lose 4 pounds each month for 5 months so I will be 20 pounds slimmer by June 1st.  I will reduce my caloric intake by 500/day by cutting refined foods (alcohol, candy, white bread) and begin walking at least 20 minutes per day.”  S.M.A.R.T goals will help you achieve.

2.  People in great shape look and feel better.  Would you pay USD$5,000 right now for the body of your dreams?  Of course you would!  Ok, so use that money and purchase a gym membership, personal training, new workout gear/clothes, a kayak, hiking boots, etc.  Commit to your decision to look and feel better.

3. Book an appointment with a dermatologist to discuss products for your age and skin-type.  Maybe you want a few injections or fillers, scars/pigmentation/veins removed, or just need to drink more water and sleep better.  A dermatologist will tell you the truth and hook you up with the products and creams to suit you best.

4.  Find a wonderful salon/spa.  I rave about the Mandarin Oriental Salon (HK) because they are specialists with hair, face, feet, nails, etc.  Invest in a relationship with a wonderful stylist and technician and trust them on beauty and grooming advice.  Look after yourself.

5.  If possible, only buy fresh food.  It’s that simple.  Fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, cheese, dairy, nuts, eggs, tofu, whole grain breads… and even chocolates.  Consider buying chocolates from See’s Candies which expire relatively quickly vs. packaged chocolate that lasts 6-12+ months on the shelf.   Always go fresh and try to avoid needing to open a wrapper to consume your food.

6.  Take care of your wardrobe.  If it has a stain, a hole, reminds you of a bad experience, hasn’t been worn for 2 years, or you just don’t like it – it’s out.  Don’t rationalize or feel guilty for getting rid of it.  Use a dry-cleaning service to ensure your clothes look their best, purchase lint-rollers for home/work/car, take your shoes to the cobbler seasonally for care and upkeep, use jewelry cleaner regularly, and buy quality hangers so your garments hang properly.  www.imageandlifestyle.com for my personal shopping and style services.

7.  Smile and de-stress.  Take a holiday, get more sleep, book spa appointments, watch a movie with a glass of wine… do whatever it takes to chill out.  Make your happiness, goals, and health a top priority for the new year.

Filed under: Beauty, Dressing Style Tips, Exercise, Facial, Fitness - Motivation, Grooming, Hair, Health, Healthy Eating, Hong Kong, Losing Weight, Manage stress, Skin care, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

7 Back to Basics Health and Fitness Tips

With the holidays upon us, it is easy to over-eat and feel a bit guilty about all of the snacks and glasses of wine.  Instead of wasting time on guilt, consider the changes you can make to help kick-start your health and fitness.  The following is a list of tips and information from NYC personal trainer Diane Williams at http://www.kidsonlinestories.org/misc/nyc-personal-trainer-reveals-7-back-to-basics-health-and-fitness-tips.  While I generally write my own blogs, I thought the below info pretty much sums up the essentials for good health, which is key to looking and feel terrific:

1. Eat your green veggies. Can you hear your Mother in your head with this one? Rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants, these leafy deals will help lessen your risk of cancer and strengthen your immune system. Think swiss chard, spinach, broccoli, and kale.

2. Avoid certain foods. This will help in a gradual and steady change. What are the things to avoid? Anything fried, salty, sugary, and processed.

3. Build some muscle. I’m sure you’ve heard this for quite some time but it’s never too often. Resistance training is miraculous. It will increase your metabolism, burn fat, increase bone density, and help correct postural distortions.

4. Get your heart pumping! Walking, biking, jogging, and dancing are just a few cardiovascular activities that will not only keep your heart healthy, but will increase circulation, burn fat, and help manage stress.

5. Stay Hydrated. Many of us go throughout our day in a state of dehydration. Staying dehydrated will decrease energy, may increase likelihood of kidney stones, affect critical thinking abilities and worst case scenario cause kidney failure. So drink up!

6. Get some rest. Stress can kill you girls and boys. It has cost Americans roughly $300 billion dollars a year because of the adverse effects such as depression, acute anxiety, heart disease and obesity. Learn meditation or yoga to help train our brain and body to relax. Don’t forget your 7-8 hours of sleep a day.

7. Get some support. You are influenced by your environment so it’s wise to choose people close to you who are focused on health and fitness. Hire a personal trainer. Join a fitness club with a friend; anything that will help you with your shift to a healthy lifestyle.

Diane WilliamsNYC Personal Trainer is a dreamer, a boxer who could knock out a grown man, and an always evolving Curvy Goddess. She was a former plus-size model for the Wilhelmina Modeling Agency and now a fitness expert and advocate for women who wear sizes 10s and up. For more information on health, fitness, and fat loss visit http://www.CurvyGoddessWorkout.com.

 

Filed under: Exercise, Fitness - Motivation, Health, Healthy Eating, Losing Weight, Manage stress, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Nutritional Expert Weighs in on Hong Kong Lifestyle

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing nutritionist Chrissy Denton, owner of Bebe2Be for the scoop on the services she offers, weight loss, and prenatal dietary advice.

http://www.bebe2be.com/Nutrition(2056269).htm

Contact: chrissy@bebe2be.com

1. What services do you offer for clients who want to make a major lifestyle change?

We offer a range of nutritional services tailored to each client’s lifestyle and personal goals.   Our services include weight management, sports nutrition, pregnancy nutrition, family nutrition, body composition analysis as well as corporate seminars and workshops.

2. As a nutritionist, you must see all kinds of unusual weight loss strategies.  What advice do you have for in-active women 35-45 years old who want to adopt a healthy diet to lose weight?

    There are many crazy diets in the media these days that convince women to consume an unhealthy eating regime.  Healthy weight loss is achieved by choosing healthy food options that will be maintained over a long period in order to prevent the weight gain or ‘yo yo’ effect.  Exercise is equally important and should be done in conjunction with a healthy diet.

    3. Do you have specific nutrition advice for women who have just become pregnant?

    It is important to maintain a balanced diet during the entire pregnancy, ensuring that you get all the important nutrients that your baby needs.  In the first few weeks some women may lose their appetite due to morning sickness and nausea but overall your body doesn’t need any extra calories for the first six months of the pregnancy.    There are some unsafe foods to avoid during the pregnancy such as soft cheeses, pate, and raw seafood’s such as oysters and sushi and of course no alcohol and limited caffeine.   Folic acid should be taken for the first 3mths of pregnancy and some may also need a vitamin D supplement right up to after the birth.

    4. Do you offer nutritional services for children?

    Yes, we offer nutritional services for children of all ages.  We help parents deal with fussy eaters, offer a variety of snack/recipe ideas as help children with allergies/food intolerances, eating disorders or those dealing with overweight or obesity.

    5. What do you think is the one major dietary mistake people in Hong Kong make each day?

    I think people in Hong Kong tend to go with convenience and chose foods that are ready-made because of their busy lifestyle.  Most people believe that it is cheaper to eat out than cook at home which is very untrue.  Education is the key and by simply showing people basic recipes and how to cook on a budget this would dramatically improve their weight control and overall health.

    Filed under: Health, Healthy Eating, Hong Kong, Losing Weight, Pregnancy - Healthy Eating, Pregnancy Foods, Prenatal Health, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , ,

    Necessary Evil of Beauty: Nutrition & Supplements (5)

    Being healthy and well-nourished is the most beautiful look I can imagine… and there is no shortcut to a healthy diet.  Being thin does not equate to beauty.  I see tons of skinny women who just look awful.  True health is visible by a person’s smell, posture and bone/muscle shape, complexion, hair and nails, body weight – not to mention the cognitive abilities, longevity, quality of life, etc.  I think carbohydrate free diets are terrible on the system and your body, though I’m not an expert.  I have, however completed an advanced certificate in nutrition and know a diet composed 50-60% carbohydrates, 20-30% healthy fats, and 20-30% lean protein is the way to go… and that the quantity of what you eat is critical.  No matter how balanced your diet, if you overeat, you’ll gain weight.  To help keep your weight in check, aim for making 50% of your breakfast fruit and at least 40% of your lunches and dinners vegetables.  Fill in the rest with whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats and you’ll be feeling and looking beautiful.

    Once you get used to limiting your intake of processed foods, you might not love the taste of excess salt, sugar, and saturated fat.  But, we are animals after all and sometimes nothing tastes better than some good ol’ butter, steak, cream, or fried chicken.  So live by the 80/20 rule to keep your internal health and outward beauty in check:  80% of the time you eat like an angel while 20% of the time you enjoy food as a normal person with friends and family without over-thinking.  Case in point – Thanksgiving and other such holidays.  It’s just one day – so eat what you love.  Then, for the next 4 days eat sensibly and take an extra walk each day.

    In addition to a balanced and varied diet, supplements will keep you looking 42 when you’re 50.  It is a good habit to start early in life to maximize the benefits.  While supplements are wonderful little things, I hate taking them, finding a place to put those bulky bottles, and the aftertaste.  Necessary evil, right?  My personal daily intake includes the following: calcium with vitamin D, essential fatty acids [EFA] for omega 3-6-9, a powerful multi-antioxidant, high quality multi-vitamin, flax seed sprinkled on my breakfast oatmeal, occasional psyllium husk, probiotics, and the odd fitness supplements I also take such as CLA, BCAA, and electrolytes – if I’m exercising in the heat.  See your doctor or consult the staff at GNC about the supplement options available.

    Eating well will keep you looking and feeling your best.

    Filed under: Beauty, Health, Healthy Eating, Skin care, , , , , , , , , , , ,

    Cold Water Showers

    Dear Friends,

    While watching the news this morning, an author declared that one common habit practiced by those who rarely fell ill was a cold water shower.  Brrrrrrrrr!  Arctic espresso!  But, in the words of one of my pilates instructors, “Beauty is pain!”  Just look at the fair and lovely Finnish who practice alternating sessions in the brisk cold with hot saunas.  I’m going to try this invigorating and bracing habit… starting off hot and finishing off with a splish-splash in the chill for the following health benefits:

    Benefits of Cold Water Showers

    1. Improves blood circulation
    2. Relieves depression
    3. Keeps skin and hair healthy (and shiny)
    4. Strengthens immunity
    5. Increases testosterone
    6. Increases male fertility
    7. Increases energy and well-being; reduced stress

    Filed under: Hair, Health, Manage stress, , , , , ,

    Health All-Star: Psyllium Husk

    Hello Friends,

    I consider psyllium husk fibers a Health All-Star when incorporated into a diet for additional fiber, digestive health, and appetite control.  This saw-dust-looking powder is a natural, taste-free, gluten-free, nearly no-calorie, fiber-rich food which turns liquids, smoothies, soups, etc into a somewhat gel-like substance if not consumed immediately.  It is this gel-like texture which forms bulk in your GI system and promotes a healthy colon by absorbing fats and cholesterol from the digestive tract, pushing out mucoid plaque, and preventing constipation.  Other beneficial health properties of psyllium husk include the following:

    • Blood pressure improvement
    • Treatment of IBS
    • Treatment of yeast infections
    • Pain management and treatment of hemorrhoids and cystitis
    • Anti-inflammatory properties
    • Weight loss control
    • Pregnant women should consult a physician prior to use

    Personally, I find psyllium husk helpful during weeks of detoxing and tightening up my diet, or mornings after a wonderfully indulgent evening out (see shake recipe below).  Although I do not consume this product daily, it helps me feel clean, refreshed, and light and is a welcome addition to my personal health program.  I purchase 200-300 gram packages at 360 supermarket in Elements or Hyrdohealth in Central and keep it refrigerated and sealed for freshness.

    Jennie’s Super Healthy Morning Shake: Blueberries (any fruit as desired), heaped spoon spirulina, heaped spoon psyllium husk fibers, 1 cup almond milk, 1 cup ice, 1 tablespoon flaxseed oil, 1 heaping spoon vanilla protein powder.  Blend and be prepared to eat with a spoon… the psyllium will make this thick… and it becomes thicker the longer it sits out.  Add psyllium powder to the blender after the milk for easier cleaning.  Almond milk is used for the naturally sweet taste, protein, and low calorie properties.  Spirulina has a strong earthy flavor balanced by the fruit and vanilla protein powder.

    Filed under: Belly, Health, Healthy Eating, Hong Kong, Losing Weight, Tummy, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , ,

    CPR and Domestic Helpers Courses for Baby Care – Hong Kong

    Dear Friends,

    When was the last time you took a CPR class?  After recently updating my CPR/AED certification, I firmly believe a few hours learning essential techniques to save the life of a loved one (or a stranger) is time well spent.  Everyone in the home should know how to properly perform CPR on infants, children, and adults in case of an emergency. 

    Annerley in Hong Kong offers a special CPR course for infant and child life-saving techniques on Saturdays for 4.5 hrs, priced at for HKD$1,200.  Annerley also offers course for domestic helpers to learn about all aspects of baby care and safety in 6 x 2 hr sessions priced at $2,650.  http://www.annerley.com.hk/CPRHelpersCourses/  Due to the large amount of time that many domestic helpers spend with the children in the home, classes focused on child CPR, safety, and care will provide value to the entire family and offer your helper life-long skills from a trusted source. 

    If you are interested to learn CPR and emergency care, many hospitals, medical centers, and government offices offer CPR/AED courses.  I recommend CPR courses through OPS studio on Stanley Street in Central (they run classes each month… upcoming August 4th CPR/AED class)  http://www.opstudiohk.com/course/index.php, or contacting the major hospitals or fire department for information on where you can learn CPR/AED and other critical first-aid information.

    Stay safe  🙂

    Filed under: Baby Care, Classes, Dads-to-be, Domestic Helper, Education, Expectant Parents, Health, Hong Kong, Pregnancy, Prenatal tools, , , , , , , , , , , ,